May 01, 2018
Heather Bell, Sanofi
SVP, global head of digital and analytics at Sanofi
When Sanofi tapped Bell as its first-ever global head of digital and analytics in early 2017, pundits familiar with her work experience expected a quick and thorough overhaul of the company's digital operations – one, it was suggested, that Sanofi had put off for too long. Bell delivered on those expectations and then some: In the year-plus since she arrived at the company, Sanofi has debuted a digital-first corporate branding campaign and completely revamped its online presence to emphasize social and online content.
Bell's work transcends the digital-marketing realm. Her team has been hailed for its work on a range on initiatives – notably among them an effort to digitize Sanofi's clinical trial operations and another to implement digital boot camps to train employees around the world in modern-day strategy and tactics.
Before assuming her current role, Bell had already contributed to Sanofi's digital initiatives. She previously served as VP of corporate strategy and emerging opportunities, a role she held for more than three years. As part of it, she contributed to a team tasked with developing Sanofi's nascent digital strategy, which included the implementation of initiatives that harnessed digital tech and data to improve patient outcomes.
Bell knows what she's up against. At the 2017 VivaTech conference, she acknowledged the challenges that come with attempting to usher slow-moving pharma companies into the digital era. “The tech and digital world is much faster-paced than pharma is used to with its long drug development cycle times,” Bell said. “So we're thinking about how we speed up some of our processes. We're thinking about how we test and learn.”
Prior to her Sanofi tenure, Bell spent three years with AstraZeneca working in corporate strategy and program management. She served as director of international strategy at the University of Oxford and spent nearly a decade as a consultant and principal in McKinsey and Co.'s Toronto and London outposts.